Tag Archives: gambling

New Sports Gambling Laws Now In Effect

If you’re watching any sports on TV, you’re now bombarded with gambling site ads. No matter what province you’re in, most of them are for Ontario residents only. You’ll see the tiny print on the bottom stating “you must be physically present in the province.” But every province does have sites and then there are always the online and unregulated ones.

As of last month, Ontario has banned the use of sports personalities, athletes or other celebrities in these ads. I may be cynical, but politicians and governments are the last people that care about doing anything positive. Yet even THEY are realizing these gambling ads have gotten way out of control. Studies show it’s 20% of sports ads, maybe that’s low because curling doesn’t have a lot of them, but it feels to me like it’s more than half of all ads these days…at least for NHL games. And they’re everywhere: Go to any minor hockey arena and you’ll the the boards plastered with gambling ads. Just like tobacco: It’s never to early to plant the seeds. After all, that’s their future customers! Want proof? Ask any six to 10 year old that watches hockey if they’ve ever wanted to bet on the games. You’d be stunned by the results!

Gambling is super addictive. Should we even allow these sites to advertise at all? We no longer allow ads for tobacco. No, the health care costs for gambling addicts isn’t nearly as high as tobacco became. But is there a difference? Setting aside that odds are better on slot machines than sports gambling, should we encourage and promote this? Not to mention the sucker bets and tiny odds of winning in-game bets. Even after the first period, if your team is down by two goals you can still bet! The odds now get massively high which is a great incentive (trap) to still bet your favourite team. Never mind the stats that frequently show up on the top left of the screen: X team is 26-3 when leading after one period…or whatever the stat. Yup, bet your team coming back 26 times and you MAY win three out of those 26 bets! There’s optimism and then there’s stupidity…

A Few Scary Stories from the U.S.

After a week in Kansas, I wanted to share a couple of U.S. stories from the world of finance and credit. They’re certainly insights that make you think or just shake your head:

You knew this day had to come: Atlantic City is the #2 gambling destination after Las Vegas in the US. Within ten hours of Atlantic City, there are more than 100 million people to draw from, and that’s a pretty huge market. While it’s possible to get cash advances from credit and debit cards in every casino on the planet, Atlantic City has gone one big step further. Gaming laws have now been amended to actually allow people to use their credit cards right at the blackjack and craps tables for a cash advance! Yes, you heard that correctly. Just sit down at the blackjack table and pull out your credit card. So far, only the Trump Taj Mahal has implemented it. But you know it’s only a matter of time before every casino in Atlantic City, and then Vegas, will roll this out, just to keep up.

JP Morgan Chase, one of the big six credit card issuers who control two-thirds of all credit cards, just announced doing away with a bunch of affinity cards. Those are cards for a specific retailer, where the merchant receives a kick-back. Gone are the Avon card and Starbucks. And if you’re a basketball fan, they also couldn’t get enough interest in the credit cards for the Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic. Gee, you think the world can do without a few more credit cards??

On television, there’s more and more happy talk about the U.S. economy. While that may be true, in some areas, the foundation of people feeling more secure about their finances is always the value and equity in their homes. And that isn’t getting much better in many of the so-called “bubble states, where there are still over 3 million foreclosures expected this year alone.
But the no-service Bank of America is now seeing the light, and are prepared to do principal reductions of up to 30% on people under water. That is, they’re actually now prepared to help, after writing off billions of dollars in foreclosures. Principal reductions means they will actually cut the balance that people owe on a home that may be worth half of their mortgage. It’ll apply only to sub prime mortgages with insane interest rates, but it’s a start to actually help people and give them concrete hope. They finally figured out that they didn’t need to lose tens of billions of dollars kicking families out of their homes, and then take a massive bath on trying to sell literally millions of empty houses. This is going to be less than half as expensive for the bank in the long run. Too little too late for a ton of families but better late than never…